For many, riding a motorcycle in Costa Rica is a way to appreciate the county’s winding mountain roads and beautiful views. For many more it is an economical means of transport to get to work or for their job as a messenger or food delivery driver.
According to statistics released by the Ministry of Public Transportation (MOPT) it is also a dangerous endeavor. Nearly fifty percent of road fatalities, so far in 2022, have been from those riding a motorcycle. However, what is not included in these statistics are the impacts that motorcycle accidents have on those that survive an accident and have had life altering injuries like loss of limbs and severe head injuries.
You could also ask the patients in the large 30-bedroom section at the trauma hospital behind Hospital Mexico. On a recent visit there, to see friend that had been hit by a car while on his motorcycle, I saw at least 20 young patients either missing a leg or with severe leg fractures.
The factors for the large number of motorcycle deaths are many, including poor road maintenance, speeding drivers, heavy seasonal rains and the driving culture in general that all contribute to this alarming count.
The director of the Traffic Police, Alexander Solano Quirós, emphasized that motorcycles are not, per se, more dangerous, but it does require more care, both from those who drive them, and from other drivers towards them, given the vulnerability they present.
Officials from the ministry say car drivers could also do a better job of watching out for motorcycles and recommend that they keep a distance of 1.5 meters when passing motorcycles.
If you drive any vehicle of any sort in Costa Rice the best advice is to take it easy, be aware of your surroundings, and maybe put your phone down.